I've resisted buying a Nintendo (of any kind), an XBox, or any other video game playing device. We have enough distractions, and I didn't see any value to my kids.I do, however, let them play PC games from time to time.
JumpStart asked us to review Jump Start's 3D Virtual World: Guest for the Color Meister. My kids are hooked, and I couldn't be happier about it.
JumpStart has some of the qualities of other video games that my girls love (when they get to play them in someone else's house). They get to create their character, go on adventures, and earn points.
Here's the cool part: they earn their points by playing games that incorporate math and the language arts.
They also send me emails detailing my child's progress. Here's a sampling of one of them:
* Decode words - completed
* Recognize cause-and-effect relationships - completed
* Identify 3-letter blends with words - completed
There is also a Parents Center where you can log in and see how they're doing.
The downsides: when played through the CD, the game takes over the entire screen so that you don't have the little tabs below for any other programs running, and you have to exit entirely which takes a few moments. It also takes some time to start running. The girls find it incredibly addicting and don't like to hear when it's time to quit already! Oh, and you have to have sound running so that the kids can hear the instructions for their next challenge. (Headphones help, but then they get so engrossed in the game, they can't hear you when you're trying to talk to them!) Also, I wish they had more options for older kids, like Sylvia. She plays it a lot, but I wish it were more challenging for her. (I have been told that they are working on more games for older kids.)
Still, I feel much better about the girls playing this than anything else they've found online. And I've never seen either of them so excited and eager to do math!
I can offer one 3-month free membership to JumpStart's online community. Leave me a comment, and I will randomly select a winner (using random.org) on Friday, May 8.